Rover Eyes a ‘Mystery Hut’ on the Far-Side of the Moon

·2 min read

The only rover on the “dark side” of the Moon—the side of the Moon permanently facing away from Earth—has eyed something peculiar. On the lunar horizon, the Chinese rover, Yutu 2, has spotted a prominent “mystery hut” object. And while it’s most likely a hunk of lunar rock… We’re personally not ready to rule out an IRL 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith.

Space.com reported on the mystery house on the far side of the Moon, which Yutu 2 eyed in the Von Kármán crater. Yutu 2, a solar-powered rover, landed in the crater in January 2019, thanks to the Chang’e 4 lunar lander. This lunar lander is an aid for the second phase of China’s Lunar Exploration Program, which aims to improve the nation’s lunar exploration technology.

A moondscape against black space with a speck on the horizon that represents an object China's National Space Agency has dubbed a "mystery hut" on the moon.

In a diary entry on the Chinese blog, Our Space, post authors Han Shaojin and Liu Xiaohui describe how Yutu 2 came upon the mystery cube. In lengthy, and often poetic, detail. On October 29, 2021, Yutu 2 “woke up from its sweet sleep on a moonlit night,” the diary entry says. Later that lunar day, the rover eyed “an obtrusive cube” on the northern skyline as it explored.

China’s National Space Agency (CNSA) has dubbed the prominent object “mysterious hut” (translated). This name comes in part due to the way the formation “pierces” the skyline. In the image above, the mystery hut is objectively indeed cube-like in shape. However, “hut” is obviously a matter of opinion. Despite the dark dimple in the side of the object facing Yutu 2 that looks sort of like a doorway.

An image of the crater on the Moon in which China's Yutu 2 rover has observed a "mysterious hut" object.

While the top image is the best one Yutu 2 could snap at the moment, it is now moving closer to the mystery hut on the Moon. Space.com reports that as of December 5, the rover was 260 feet away from the object. So it now has a two or three-month journey to make its way over to the object. Which, again, is probably some ejecta from an asteroid impact. But the Von Kármán crater (above, with arrows marking Chang’e 4 lander) is massive at 110 miles in diameter. And likely, it holds many more mysterious forms piercing the horizon, making this one worthy trip.

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